Oscar Nominee James Franco Set To Direct 'As I Lay Dying'

The '127 Hours' star and Oscar host tells MTV News he'll helm movie based on William Faulkner's novel this summer.

James Franco may very well be Hollywood's ultimate Renaissance man. In addition to his already busy 2011 schedule, which includes attending the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, both as first-time host and Best Actor nominee (for "127 Hours"), the actor/writer/student will also tackle directing duties.

Over the weekend, MTV News managed to catch a minute with Franco at the Sundance Film Festival, where he revealed to us yet another impressive future endeavor. The star spilled, "This summer I'm going to direct a movie based on William Faulkner's novel 'As I Lay Dying.' "

Franco, who has in the past done some work behind the camera, explained, "I shoot a test of the whole movie before I make a movie. So we just shot a test."

Despite working from a lengthy script (160 pages, to be exact), Franco did an entire pre-shoot with actors in North Carolina on New Year's Day. And in keeping with his already unorthodox methods, the 32-year-old noted that the actors he used for the test filming won't necessarily be the ones he works with on the final product.

While Franco says he "might" appear in his adaptation of "As I Lay Dying," he has his sights set on his favorite actor, "Boardwalk Empire" and "Revolutionary Road" star Michael Shannon, whom he has worked with twice before. The cast already includes Paul Dano ("Little Miss Sunshine," "There Will Be Blood") and, if all works out for Franco, Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor," "Six Feet Under") and Joaquin Phoenix will be onboard as well.

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